poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

A Brief Stop in Taitung

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Welcome to the 2nd post in a series about my Taiwan trip! In case you missed it, the first part is here.

I started writing this post and was 3 paragraphs deep when I realized, “Jen, this is SO BORING.” So, I started over, with the goal of being as brief, informative, and interesting as possible. What better way than by using bullet points? Bullet vacay recap! Woot woot!

  • Where: Taitung
  • Trip duration: 24 hours
  • How did we get there: train from Taipei that took ~4.5 hours. Make sure you get a reserved seat!
  • Why: Taitung was en route to Green Island. Also, I had heard good things about it from a friend.
  • What we did: dropped off bags at our hotel; went to get lunch at a famous noodle spot; walked around for a bit (not much to see); bought fruit at the infamous fruit street; checked in; took a nap that was supposed to be 1 hour but ended up being 2 or 3; got denied at Mabanai, a famous indigenous restaurant, after taking a taxi there (They turned us away, saying that they do not seat parties of 2 –WHAT? WHY?? Also, we were very surprised that it was listed in Lonely Planet guidebook if it had those kind of policies); wandered around and got denied at a second place; third time was the charm — delicious!; walked back to the hotel and crashed; took a ferry early the next morning for Green Island!
  • Hotel: Traveler Hotel. I was very pleased with our experience here. It’s nothing fancy, but what can you expect for $40/night? It was clean and had AC, as well as a mini-fridge.
  • Misc: Expect to drop a lot of money on taxis. The new train station, downtown Taitung, and the ferry landing are very far apart from each other. Each fare was NTD$200-300. We also had one driver take us on a circuitous route. 😦
  • Bottom line: Would I recommend Taitung as a destination? No. It’s fine as a stopover en route to Green Island or Orchid Island, but it’s too small to have the conveniences of a bigger city like Taipei (transportation, food choices, activities) and too big to be charming.

And now, the exciting part — pictures!

The view from the train. We passed a lot of farms and mountains.

One of the famous noodle shops in Taitung. They are famous for a thick rice noodle dish called bi-dai-bak 米苔目. Unfortunately, I don’t have the name for the restaurant, but it was just around the corner from our hotel.

A large bowl of 米苔目 was only NTD$40 (US$1.35). The noodles are topped with meat sauce, dried fish flakes, dried scallions/garlic, and fresh green onions. I added a fish ball for NTD$5 (18 cents). Scrumptious!

Ready to eat!

A view of the dining room. This space was recently renovated, but the shop had been around for many decades. The owner even came over to greet us.

As mentioned above, we had some trouble finding a restaurant for dinner. After wandering around for an hour in the rain, we finally stumbled upon a cute little restaurant called Michi. My understanding is that the restaurant specializes in local, seasonal, and organic foods. Just our cup of tea! The food was flavorful and the owner was very friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, I’ve lost the business card, but it’s in one of of the main streets downtown, close to the night market and other restaurants.

TC and I both got the beef special. Clockwise, from top left: appetizer/salad (mushrooms?), sauteed greens, fried tofu, watermelon slices, braised beef, rice, and soup. All for about US$9 each, including beer.

Even though we got the braised beef and rice set meal, everyone else there was eating hot pot. It’s just like the Taiwanese to be eating hot soup in the middle of summer! I’ll always think of Michi fondly, because up until we sat down for that meal, our night had been going all wrong. It’s great how a good meal (and a beer or two) can help you re-center and feel better instantly.

Bon appetit!

Stay tuned for the next installment of our Taiwan travelogue, where I’ll recap our adventures in Green Island!


Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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